Cracked corn as the only feed

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by cat1994, Jul 29, 2011.

  1. cat1994

    cat1994 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 12, 2010
    Southeast MO
    So my Uncle has had chickens all his life and he has always feed then nothing more than cracked corn, oyster shell, scraps, and anything the hens got when they free ranged. I feed mine (from chick to adult) Chick Starter, Chick Starter/Grower, Poultry Grower/Finisher, Poultry Layer, Oyster Shell, Poultry Grit, Scratch Grain, Flock Block, Happy Hen Treats, scraps, and anything they get when they free rang. Needless to say my Uncle thinks I’m crazy for buying all this food for their different stages of life and all the treats I buy to spoil them, he keeps trying to convince me to start feeding my flock ONLY cracked corn and of course oyster shell, should I go ahead and begin feeding just cracked corn like him, I tell him that it should not be feed as the main diet but he just laughs and tells me about the fact that he, his father, his grandfather, his great grandfather and so on and so froth have been feeding their flocks with just cracked corn for generations and yet their chickens did fine, he also seas it would save me lots of money since we grow our own corn and we also have our own hammer mill for grinding it up. So what do you all think I should do, should I just ignore him and continue feeding them what I have always done or change to my Uncles “good old days” way of feeding just cracked corn?
  2. NewToFarming

    NewToFarming Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 28, 2010
    Millersburg, PA
    It is a personal choice on choosing feed for your flock but if it were me, I wouldn't just feed cracked corn. It really doesn't have any nutritional value in it and I would think they would need more to be healthy. I am sure they could survive with the cracked corn, free ranging and scraps but they wouldn't be as healthy as yours are with the proper feed. The better nutrition your chickens get, the more healthy they are as well as their eggs. Poor nutrition equals poor quality eggs in my opinion.
    It is more expensive but in the long run you will have healthier happier chickens!!!
  3. homesteadapps

    homesteadapps Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 8, 2010
    Quote:I see this a lot about corn bread, etc..., but it is not completely true of field or dent corn. Dent corn and soybean is in almost every type of purchased feed you use for animals and its protein value is figured at 9%.

    Field corn and sweet corn are not the same.

    whole article is good.

    Corn has sometimes gotten a bad rap as not being a very nutritious food.

    Like the majority of the other cereal grains, corn is low in lysine. And it's marginally low in Isoleucine and the amino acid combination Methionine and Cystine as well.

    However, if you add just 50 grams of soybeans to 100 grams of yellow dent corn (dry weight) it more than rounds out an adult male's one day requirement for the essential amino acids.

    For the weight conscious among us, this works out to only 565 calories.

    Not bad! Corn also contains goodly quantities of many B vitamins and the minerals Phosphorus, Magnesium, Iron, Zinc and the essential Linoleic Acid. Corn's 72% starch content makes it a high energy food.

    Corn contains adequate amounts of vitamin A, the highest of any cereal grain.


    Free ranging dual purpose birds have thrived in the past receiving nothing but some whole kernel corn and other grains (thats right not ground) daily along with everything else they find. In the older days, pigs even had to eat corn that wasn't shelled and still on the cob.

    Because a well rounded diet is necessary, we normally use custom feed blends over the winter but try to get our chickens to find as much of their own food in the summer as they can. Corn costs almost as much as regular feed now, but it isn't just candy.
    1 person likes this.
  4. cat1994

    cat1994 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 12, 2010
    Southeast MO
    What if I feed my chickens of all ages cracked corn along with Oyster Shell, Poultry Grit, Scratch Grain, Flock Block, Happy Hen Treats, scraps, and anything they got when they free ranged? Do you think they would do ok then?
  5. FireTigeris

    FireTigeris Tyger! Tyger! burning bright

    Quote:Why cracked corn? Why not whole corn? Free-Ranged + all that other stuff + cracked corn would seem to be a good diet-

    If you want to really -know- take their weight the first and last day of a month and total eggs produced, switch diets (in a similar type month July then August, not October then June) and repeat - if they are much lighter/heaver or the egg producing fell a lot then you know to switch back, if everything is about the same keep it switched... and take another months reading, if its still the same keep the new diet.
    Gracie555 and Spanishchick like this.
  6. gavinandallison

    gavinandallison Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 25, 2010
    Matthews, NC.
    I use corn as a treat, it is a "hot" food and is very good in winter, along with BOSS to keep your chickens warm. I use Layena Layer crumbles for mine and even in this heat am getting eggs each day. Also try weeds from the yard, left over corn from the dinner table - they will pick a husk clean in minutes, and any other spoilt veggies you have (except onions)... The more greens etc then the better the eggs and healthier the chickens..
  7. gdplum

    gdplum Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 9, 2010
    I have noticed that when I throw out "chicken scratch", the corn doesnt get consumed.
  8. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    I'll go you one better on the "old timer philosophy" thing. I remember as a young man, neighbors who wouldn't ever intentionally feed their chickens at all. Zip. The expected them to scavenge for spilled grains, seeds, grass, bugs, dig through cow pies, horse pies, etc. Those old timers were darn proud of that fact.

    And their hens looked gosh awful, most of the time, and likely laid somewhere around 100 eggs a year.

    Thanks, but no thanks. I prefer my management system a little better. I get 300+ eggs per year with RSLs and 260 from more stout breeds.
  9. Alethea

    Alethea Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2011
    I think that, unless it is a financial hardship, it is good to give the chickens a good, balanced, nutritious diet. Keeping them happy and healthy pays off for us as well as for them.
  10. I am not a believer in flock block or treats (with the exception of meal worms if you raise them) at all. The main reason being that most hens will cut back on their balanced feed because of all the treats, flock block, and too much scratch. I.E. a good flock block (purina sunfresh) is about 8% protein. And too many treats throw the balance off in other areas.

    Feed a good complete feed, give a "normal" amount of a good scratch, and leave them to finding their own treats when they free range. IMO you should drop everything else and watch as the birds looks and production increase.

    If you want to supplement the scratch with the cracked corn or even make your own scratch that would be a good way to use the corn. As previously stated though...corn is a hot grain, adjust that level according to seasons.
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2011

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